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Musing: Dark Thoughts
I struggled for an entertaining topic this week until dark thoughts entered my mind. A tree took out the power lines to our neighborhood.
Otherwise, Dear Reader, you would have been subjected to a story about my ineptness in ordering computer gear. I bought a switch to share a monitor between two computers. When it arrived on Friday, I attempted to hook up the equipment, only to discover that one of the computers didn’t have the proper port.
After consulting my humongous box of many cables—which can’t possibly be thrown out in case I ever needed one of them—I determined I didn’t have the proper patch cable. Thankfully, with the power of Amazon, the necessary wiring would arrive within twenty-four hours. My days-long project would have to wait one more day.
See? Aren’t you glad a different disaster befell me? Hearing about wires and cabling couldn’t possibly be entertaining.
The howling winds whipped the trees outside, an event our weather prognosticators had accurately predicted, while I stared at my computer Saturday afternoon, puzzling how to make my cabling saga entertaining enough.
An uprooted tree fell across power lines near the entrance to our neighborhood. The transformer went up in smoke. The lights inside my house flickered to dark. My uninterruptible power supply protecting my computer equipment sounded the alarm. A battery would keep everything running for twenty minutes or so, but no more.
The protesting howls of a Siberian Husky joined the UPS alarm. Landon hates the noise those battery backups make. He yells at them to stop, so I silenced the klaxon.
The blasting of a fire truck siren pierced the air. They arrived to assess the damage, extinguish any brush fires, and create enough opening around the fallen tree to allow traffic to pass.
Seconds later, my phone pinged. An alert from Duke Power helpfully noted that my power was out. They promised an update soon.
Realizing the outage would last longer than my batteries, I initiated the shutdown procedures. After closing programs and powering down computers, I shut off the networking equipment.
As I was working, someone knocked at the door. I waved at a delivery driver dropping off a package and went back to work.
The last step before losing the internet access was to check Duke’s website for any updates. They showed over 20,000 people in the Asheville area without power. I needed to prepare for hours without electricity.
Once the equipment was quiet and dark, I leaned back in the chair and pondered what to do next. Remembering the delivery driver, I opened the door and picked up the package. The errant cable had arrived. I plugged it in, but couldn’t test it. Sigh.
We debated dinner. Our planned oven meal wasn’t happening without electricity. We briefly discussed going to a restaurant, but the howling winds and threat of falling trees said we should stay put. We consulted our food supplies and planned a meal using only the gas cooktop.
After we ate and cleaned up, I consulted the Duke website again. Fortunately, my phone received a weak signal from Verizon. One bar was better than none.
Outages now extended to 31,000 people. Our particular issue affected only 51 locations, so odds were a low priority had been assigned to us.
I settled into a chair with my iPad and read a Stephen King novel until after sunset. As I tripped over a dog leaving my study, I realized having a few candles lit would be a massive benefit. Should have thought of them while the sun was still up.
With phone flashlight in hand, we searched drawers until we found our target. We settled it onto the kitchen counter well away from anything flammable and lit it. A flickering light gave us some ability to avoid crashing into furniture and dogs.
By 9pm, we surrendered and headed to bed.
I’d love to claim I slept through the night, but my insomnia struck again. At 3:30, I awoke with no ability to drift back to sleep. I checked the Duke website (update pending—no work crews assigned yet) and read with my dwindling iPad battery.
Normally, I’m up by 5 and at my computer. Not Sunday. I read until sunrise.
And that’s when we faced our first real crisis. The coffee maker sat dark. My Ever Patient Partner in Life, who adamantly requires coffee at the start of every day, boiled a pot of water on the gas stove and made coffee. Blessings!
Properly caffeinated, we headed out the door for the morning dog walk. My phone pinged with an update. A repair crew had been assigned to our issue. Hope was on the horizon.
An hour later, we returned to the house to hear the wondrous hum of electricity. After getting the dogs settled and fed, I powered up the router. Miraculously, our internet connection was strong.
Oh, and for those curious. That little cable I ordered? The one that arrived minutes after the house went dark? It worked like a charm. I could happily switch from one computer to another on the monitor with a press of a button.
And you, Dear Readers, received a fresh story.
Gratuitous Dog Photo: Frankie Suave
Frankie Suave was as calm about our extended power outage as he is about everything else. As long as meals are served on time, walks happen on schedule, and retiring to bed happens like clockwork, he’s a happy camper.
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Until Next Monday
May your weather be comfortable and kind, no matter how much it changes.
See you next Monday.
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